Search Legislation

Fatal Accidents Act 1976

What Version

 Help about what version

Advanced Features

 Help about advanced features

Changes to legislation:

There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to Fatal Accidents Act 1976. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

Close

Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. Changes and effects are recorded by our editorial team in lists which can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area. Where those effects have yet to be applied to the text of the legislation by the editorial team they are also listed alongside the legislation in the affected provisions. Use the ‘more’ link to open the changes and effects relevant to the provision you are viewing.

E+W

Fatal Accidents Act 1976

1976 CHAPTER 30

An Act to consolidate the Fatal Accidents Acts.

[22nd July 1976]

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C5Act modified (1.12.1991) by Water Industry Act 1991 (c. 56, SIF 130), ss. 209(4), 223(2))(with ss. 82(3), 186(1), 222(1), Sch. 14 para. 6)

C6Act amended (24.9.1996) by 1996 c. 48, ss. 3(2), 8(3)

Act amended (15.2.1999) by 1998 c. 17, s. 23(2)(a)(3), Sch. 3 para. 12 (with Sch. 3 para. 5(1)); S.I. 1999/161, art. 2(1)

Commencement Information

I1Act wholly in force at 1.9.1976, see s. 7(2)

[F11 Right of action for wrongful act causing death. E+W

(1)If death is caused by any wrongful act, neglect or default which is such as would (if death had not ensued) have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the person who would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured.

(2)Subject to section 1A(2) below, every such action shall be for the benefit of the dependants of the person (“the deceased”) whose death has been so caused.

(3)In this Act “dependant” means—

(a)the wife or husband or former wife or husband of the deceased;

(b)any person who—

(i)was living with the deceased in the same household immediately before the date of the death; and

(ii)had been living with the deceased in the same household for at least two years before that date; and

(iii)was living during the whole of that period as the husband or wife of the deceased;

(c)any parent or other ascendant of the deceased;

(d)any person who was treated by the deceased as his parent;

(e)any child or other descendant of the deceased;

(f)any person (not being a child of the deceased) who, in the case of any marriage to which the deceased was at any time a party, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to that marriage;

(g)any person who is, or is the issue of, a brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the deceased.

(4)The reference to the former wife or husband of the deceased in subsection (3)(a) above includes a reference to a person whose marriage to the deceased has been annulled or declared void as well as a person whose marriage to the deceased has been dissolved.

(5)In deducing any relationship for the purposes of subsection (3) above—

(a)any relationship by affinity shall be treated as a relationship by consanguinity, any relationship of the half blood as a relationship of the whole blood, and the stepchild of any person as his child, and

(b)an illegitimate person shall be treated as the legitimate child of his mother and reputed father.

(6)Any reference in this Act to injury includes any disease and any impairment of a person’s physical or mental condition.]

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

1A Bereavement.E+W

(1)An action under this Act may consist of or include a claim for damages for bereavement.

(2)A claim for damages for bereavement shall only be for the benefit—

(a)of the wife or husband of the deceased; and

(b)where the deceased was a minor who was never married—

(i)of his parents, if he was legitimate; and

(ii)of his mother, if he was illegitimate.

(3)Subject to subsection (5) below, the sum to be awarded as damages under this section shall be [F2£10,000].

(4)Where there is a claim for damages under this section for the benefit of both the parents of the deceased, the sum awarded shall be divided equally between them (subject to any deduction falling to be made in respect of costs not recovered from the defendant).

(5)The Lord Chancellor may by order made by statutory instrument, subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament, amend this section by varying the sum for the time being specified in subsection (3) above.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

F2Word in s. 1A(3) substituted (1.4.2002 with application as mentioned in art. 1(2) of the amending S.I.) by S.I. 2002/644, art. 2

2 Persons entitled to bring the action.E+W

(1)The action shall be brought by and in the name of the executor or administrator of the deceased.

(2)If—

(a)there is no executor or administrator of the deceased, or

(b)no action is brought within six months after the death by and in the name of an executor or administrator of the deceased,

the action may be brought by and in the name of all or any of the persons for whose benefit an executor or administrator could have brought it.

(3)Not more than one action shall lie for and in respect of the same subject matter of complaint.

(4)The plaintiff in the action shall be required to deliver to the defendant or his solicitor full particulars of the persons for whom and on whose behalf the action is brought and of the nature of the claim in respect of which damages are sought to be recovered.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C10S. 2(4) amended (1.1.1992) by S.I. 1991/2684, arts. 2, 4, Sch.1

3 Assessment of damages.E+W

(1)In the action such damages, other than damages for bereavement, may be awarded as are proportioned to the injury resulting from the death to the dependants respectively.

(2)After deducting the costs not recovered from the defendant any amount recovered otherwise than as damages for bereavement shall be divided among the dependants in such shares as may be directed.

(3)In an action under this Act where there fall to be assessed damages payable to a widow in respect of the death of her husband there shall not be taken account the re-marriage of the widow or her prospects of re-marriage.

(4)In an action under this Act where there fall to be assessed damages payable to a person who is a dependant by virtue of section 1(3)(b) above in respect of the death of the person with whom the dependant was living as husband or wife there shall be taken into account (together with any other matter that appears to the court to be relevant to the action) the fact that the dependant had no enforceable right to financial support by the deceased as a result of their living together.

(5)If the dependants have incurred funeral expenses in respect of the deceased, damages may be awarded in respect of those expenses.

(6)Money paid into court in satisfaction of a cause of action under this Act may be in one sum without specifying any person’s share.

4 Assessment of damages: disregard of benefits. E+W

In assessing damages in respect of a person’s death in an action under this Act, benefits which have accrued or may accrue to any person from his estate or otherwise as a result of his death shall be disregarded.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

5 Contributory negligence. E+W

Where any person dies as the result partly of his own fault and partly of the fault of any other person or persons, and accordingly if an action were brought for the benefit of the estate under the M1Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 the damages recoverable would be reduced under section 1(1) of the M2Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945, any damages recoverable in an action . . . F3 under this Act shall be reduced to a proportionate extent.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

Marginal Citations

6 Consequential amendments and repeals.E+W

(1)Schedule 1 to this Act contains consequential amendments.

(2)The enactments specified in Schedule 2 to this Act are repealed to the extent specified in the third column of that Schedule.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C13The text of s. 6(2) and Sch. 2 is in the form in which it was originally enacted: it was not reproduced in Statutes in Force and does not reflect any amendments or repeals which may have been made prior to 1.2.1991.

7 Short title, etc.E+W

(1)This Act may be cited as the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

(2)This Act shall come into force on 1st September 1976, but shall not apply to any cause of action arising on a death before it comes into force.

(3)This Act shall not extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland.

SCHEDULES

Section 6.

SCHEDULE 1E+W Consequential Amendments

GeneralE+W

1(1)Any enactment or other document whatsoever referring to any enactment repealed by this Act shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be construed as referring (or as including a reference) to the corresponding enactment in this Act.E+W

(2)This paragraph applies whether or not the enactment or other document was enacted, made, served or issued before the passing of this Act.

(3)This paragraph is without prejudice to [F4sections 16(1) and 17(2)(a) of the M3Interpretation Act 1978] (effect of repeals), and the following provisions of this Schedule are without prejudice to the generality of this paragraph.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

Marginal Citations

2(1)In the following enactments references to the Fatal Accidents Acts, or to the M4Fatal Accidents Act 1846, or to section 1 of that Act, include references to this Act.E+W

(2)The said enactments are—

  • section 1(5) of the M5Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 (cause of action surviving death),

  • F5 . . .

  • section 3 of the M6Carriage by Air Act 1961 (civil liability under Convention implemented by that Act),

  • section 14(2) of the M7Gas Act 1965 (civil liability under that Act),

  • section 10 of the M8Animals Act 1971 (civil liability under that Act),

  • section 11(2) of the M9Mineral Workings (Offshore Installations) Act 1971 (civil liability under that Act),

  • . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F6

  • section 88(4)(a) of the M10Control of Pollution Act 1974 (civil liability under that Act),

  • section 6(1)(d) of the M11Industrial Injuries and Diseases (Old Cases) Act 1975,

  • F7. . ..

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

Marginal Citations

3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F8E+W

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F9E+W

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

Section 6.

SCHEDULE 2E+W Repeals.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C14The text of s. 6(2) and Sch. 2 is in the form in which it was originally enacted: it was not reproduced in Statutes in Force and does not reflect any amendments or repeals which may have been made prior to 1.2.1991.

ChapterShort titleExtent of repeal
9 & 10 Vict. c. 93.Fatal Accidents Act 1846.The whole Act.
27 & 28 Vict. c. 95.Fatal Accidents Act 1864.The whole Act
24 & 25 Geo. 5. c. 41.Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.Section 2.
8 & 9 Geo. 6. c. 28.Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945.Section 1(4).
In section 4 the definition of “dependent”.
7 & 8 Eliz. 2. c. 65.Fatal Accidents Act 1959.The whole of section 1 except for subsection (4).
Section 2.
1971 c. 43.Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1971.Part II, but not so as to affect a right to make an application under section 5(2).
1973 c. 38.Social Security Act 1973.In Schedule 27 paragraph 20.
1975 c. 54.Limitation Act 1975.In Schedule 1 paragraph 1.

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enactedversion that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources
Close

More Resources

Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • correction slips

Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including:

  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • links to related legislation and further information resources